Donald Trump has unleashed on judges, prosecutors, and witnesses in both cases that are before the courts right now.
Judge Engoron placed a gag order against Trump in the New York fraud case after Trump called a court clerk the girlfriend of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
That opened the door for Judge Chutkan to hit Trump with a gag order in the January 6 case, but she has put that order on hold while the appeal plays out.
It’s Off, for Now
The gag order was ordered last Monday, and Trump’s team filed the appeal on Tuesday.
The initial order was issued after Special Counsel Jack Smith asked for the order on the basis that threats were being made to those people that Trump had posted about.
Trump’s team conceded that threats were made, but they are arguing there is no “proof” that Trump’s comments were behind those threats.
The filing stated:
“In entering the Gag Order, the Court relied heavily on the anticipated reactions of unidentified, independent third parties to President Trump’s speech. The Court found that ‘when Defendant has publicly attacked individuals, including on matters related to this case, those individuals are consequently threatened and harassed.’ Id. at 2. But the Court cited no evidence that President Trump’s statements—as distinct from the statements of millions of others—caused such alleged threats or harassment, let alone that the statements were directed to inciting imminent lawless action.”
On Friday, Judge Chutkan decided to lift the order, writing:
“Upon consideration of Defendant’s opposed 110 Motion for Stay Pending Appeal, Request for Temporary Administrative Stay, and Memorandum in Support, it is hereby ORDERED that the court’s 105 Opinion and Order is administratively STAYED to permit the parties’ briefing and the court’s consideration of Defendant’s Motion.
“It is FURTHER ORDERED that the government shall file any opposition to Defendant’s Motion by October 25, 2023, and that Defendant shall file any Reply by October 28, 2023. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 10/20/2023.”
So, prosecutors have until Wednesday to file their response, then Trump’s team has until Friday to respond, at which point Chutkan will make her final ruling on this matter.
What would greatly help Trump’s case is if he dialed it down just a bit.
In fact, during her initial ruling, Chutkan stated that Trump could criticize the Department of Justice as well as say the case was politically motivated. The order was about preventing him from singling out people.
The Democrats set a precedent some time ago that when Trump singles someone out, his supporters then target that person, which was the same narrative that Smith was promoting when he asked for the gag order.
Perhaps, just perhaps, if Trump can tone it down a bit, Chutkan will keep the order lifted, but I don’t anticipate him dialing it back, nor do I see Chutkan removing the gag order.